Jeev Milkha Singh got off to a strong start at the Johnnie Walker Classic this afternoon, joining Indian compatriot Shamim Khan and Daniel Vancsik of Argentina at the top of the leaderboard midway through his opening round.
The 2006 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner parred his first five holes at DLF Golf and Country Club near Delhi, before firing birdies at five of the next six to draw level on five-under with Khan and Vancsik, who held the clubhouse lead after rounds of 67 in the morning.
Vancsik made an eagle at his final hole of the day, the ninth, to move to five-under after a round that also included five birdies and two bogeys and he was joined on that mark later by Khan, who made the fifth birdie of a bogey-free round on his final hole.
“I played very well and my putting was very good. I took only 24 putts,” said 29-year-old Delhi-native Khan.
“I’m concentrating on my game and will take it one step at a time.
“I’m really happy that in a star-studded field, I’m at the top of the leaderboard. I can’t explain it in words.”
World number five Adam Scott also enjoyed a sparkling start at the tri-sanctioned event and was only a stroke behind the leaders after making four birdies on his first 10 holes.
The Australian was tied for fourth on four under with Mark Foster, James Kamte of South Africa, Greg Chalmers of Australia and Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen, who all carded 68s in the morning.
Foster was especially pleased to card a good round after failing to make the cut in his last three European Tour events.
“It’s been a frustrating start to the year as I’ve only made one cut in Abu Dhabi. I’ve played three tournaments – played well in all of them but just didn’t do well,” the Worksop player added.
“I came out here not too down but I just wanted to get some good scores under my belt.
“I took a long break in the winter, which I’ve never done before, and probably didn’t quite get myself good enough.
“The good thing I knew was that I had not played badly in those tournaments. I admit the results were not great but it was just a lack of competitive golf rather than playing poorly.”
World number 11 Vijay Singh is within striking distance of the leaders after making three birdies on his back nine to finish his opening round on a two-under 70 while Colin Montgomerie is at two over after an up-and-down round that featured two birdies and four bogeys.
But Ian Poulter has plenty of work to do tomorrow to survive the cut after carding a four-over 76 that featured three double-bogeys.
“I shot 11 pars, three birdies and unfortunately, I shot four over par, that’s golf,” said Montgomerie after his disappointing round.